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I Always Loved You
Cover of I Always Loved You
I Always Loved You
A Novel
A story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, from the New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter
Robin Oliveira's latest novel, Winter Sisters, will be available in February from Viking
The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War to be an artist was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary's fierce determination wavers. Her father is begging her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged for the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships.
In I Always Loved You, Robin Oliveira brilliantly re-creates the irresistible world of Belle Époque Paris, writing with grace and uncommon insight into the passion and foibles of the human heart.
For readers of The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan.
A story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, from the New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter
Robin Oliveira's latest novel, Winter Sisters, will be available in February from Viking
The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War to be an artist was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary's fierce determination wavers. Her father is begging her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged for the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships.
In I Always Loved You, Robin Oliveira brilliantly re-creates the irresistible world of Belle Époque Paris, writing with grace and uncommon insight into the passion and foibles of the human heart.
For readers of The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan.
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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 9, 2013
    In her second novel, Oliveira (My Name Is Mary Sutter) expertly draws us into the life of another famous Mary—this time in 1877 Paris, where a revolution is underway in the art world, as a few renegade painters snub (and are snubbed by) the juried exhibitions at the Paris Salon, which were then organized by the Académie des Beaux-Arts. American painter Mary Cassatt has just moved to the City of Light, not to fall in love, but to pursue her dream of becoming an artist, and she longs to get the academy’s stamp of approval. But a chance meeting with Edgar Degas, one of the leading impressionist-era rebels, changes the course of her career and life. Though it’s never been proven that the two painters were lovers, Oliveira explores the next 40 turbulent years of their relationship, and what might have been, crafting a tale of inspiration, desire, and restraint between two great artists of the 19th century.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2013
    Oliveira (My Name is Mary Sutter, 2011) draws from research and imagination to recreate the years when two impressionists--Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas--engaged in an on-again, off-again relationship. Cassatt, the daughter of well-to-do Philadelphians, is a determined woman whose first stay in Paris is interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War. Following her return and mild success with portraiture, she's ready to pack her brushes and leave France behind a second time after her submission to the Paris Salon exhibition is rejected. However, an arranged meeting with admirer Degas and his invitation to exhibit with a group of independent artists are all the incentives Cassatt needs to stay. Although the relationship is often contentious, and Degas' promises leave much to be desired, Degas introduces Cassatt to his inner circle of friends, a socially prominent group that includes writer emile Zola and artists edouard Manet and his paramour, Berthe Morisot, who's married to Manet's brother, Eugene. Degas, frustrated with increasingly poor eyesight and possessing a cruel and insensitive demeanor, becomes Cassatt's mentor and, at times, tormentor. Often at odds, they send missives back and forth. Cassatt discovers a passion for vivid colors and embarks upon a productive period painting women and children; Degas studies the human form and strives to replicate his observations in his paintings and other renderings of ballerinas. Although sometimes they're completely alienated, they remain linked through their art and (although Degas is almost loath to admit it) love. The book is accomplished and well-researched, but the relationship between Cassatt and Degas isn't as engaging as the secondary story: the love affair between Morisot and Manet. Readers may come away with little understanding of what made Cassatt and Degas click; nevertheless, they'll gain a better understanding of impressionism.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2013

    Paris in the mid-to-late 19th century was the place to be if you were an artist, especially an artist trying to shake up the stodgy traditional art institutions. It was the beginning of impressionism, a movement whose birth was quite painful for all involved. Oliveira's (My Name Is Mary Sutter) new novel purports to be about the decade-long, convoluted, and complicated relationship between Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, yet it encompasses so much more--the relationships among other luminaries of the period, the difficulty of being a single woman and an artist in a harsh and often unforgiving male-dominated world, and the complexities of dealing with family. VERDICT Oliveira has woven a rich tapestry of the artist's life in Belle Epoque Paris, in a close, intimate rendering rather than a grand, sweeping landscape. Readers who enjoy historical fiction set in this time period will enjoy the novel, as will those who like fictionalized accounts of historical figures.--Pam O'Sullivan, Coll. at Brockport Lib., SUNY

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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